I am on Gecko Patrol!
I am standing outside of one of the lounges at the Byblos Andaluz, smoking, at one of the highest-end hotels in the Andalusia province of Spain; and I’ll tell yuh what, friend, it is nice.
BMW is staging their launch of the third-generation 6 Series here, and the hotel and its ground suit the exotic supercar impeccably. This is a swanky place, with all manner of specialty staff, services and amenities, Hell, as part of my welcome package in the room I received a small personal sewing kit in case something went wrong with the cufflinks I don’t have.
I am told some of my colleagues have spotted actor Val Kilmer here; and also Meg Ryan (but not together), though I haven’t see either.
It’s also crawling with geckos, as is all of southern Spain. I’m watching one now, as I stand outside the lounge on the veranda. Geckos are pretty cool.
I think this one is a female, as I’m pretty sure the females are bigger than males, with wider heads (is that the way it works with geckos?) Females have duller colors, as well and this one is mostly a uniform dark brown.
A woman comes out of the lounge and joins me on the veranda. She smells like Trophy Wife, in a cloud of expensive scent that may or may not contain actual ambergris.
She sports a giant rock on her finger, big dyejob hair, and is skinny to the point of eating disorder, and looks to be somewhere between thirty and forty; though struggling through the medium of surgery and dieting to look late twenties.
If I had to wager, I would say I can tell she’s an animal lover, cuz she’s wearing fur, ba-dum-tsssh! (Yes, I’m pretty sure I stole that joke from an old Henny Youngman routine, sue me).
Good evening, miss, is how I introduce myself, and I love Europeans because they are so much more skilled in linguistics than I…
She says something, first in one language, then another, and then switches to weak English combined with the universal communication tool of hand-gestures when she realizes I am a slope-bowed monolinguist.
Ah. She wants a light. I oblige.
Lit, she and I stand there puffing. The silence is uncomfortable, and boring, it feels like I should say something. So I point out the gecko, clinging to the ceiling above us.
“I think it’s a female”, I say, for some reason thinking she would find it as interesting as I did, “because its pretty big, and –“
And the woman recoils at the sight of the little animal, and makes an alarmed noise and says in curt and fractured Anglais something to the effect of:
“Ack! Leezard! Disgusto!”
I am saddened to hear this, as I like leezards, and there’s nothing more harmless than a gecko; but I can already feel the beginning of an icebreaking joke forming in the back of my brain.
So I say: “Oh, no, not at all. They are beneficial. They eato buggos and so forth”, and the amusing icebreaker forms fully in my mind, and I cannot help myself as I continue: “and what’s more, because they are small and light and fast, they can easily get through the transom windows and under doors, and they will clean your ears and nostrils while you sleep”.
I use the universal communication tool of hand gestures to illustrate the point, so that the language barrier will not impede my clever gag and I point at my nose and ears; and, once concluded, I stand there smiling, that we may larf together here in this exotic and luxurious location; and, dare I say, share a moment.
Now, have you ever said something to someone, thinking it was all in good fun and couldn’t end any other way than mutual yucks and good humors all ‘round; only to realize too late that you have inadvertently touched a nerve with them?
And then you have a situation where you have affected the other person to the core, in totally the wrong way, and you would take it back if you could, but you can’t?
That is what happens with Trophy Wife, out here on the veranda outside the lounge at the exotic Byblos Andaluz, from which I still have a souvenir sewing and cufflink repair kit.
The woman gapes at me in stark horror, and says “Ack!” again, only much louder. I realize right away that I have gone too far, and I try to backtrack, to explain that I am joking and haw-haw-yuk-yuk, but it is already too late. She hastily stubs out her cigarette and hurries back inside, clearly distraught.
Ooh, I feel disgusto as I stand there alone. Even the gecko has fled, crawling into a hole in the plaster wall above the ceiling joists over the transom window.
I can see her through the window as she re-enters the lounge, and runs to an older man who sits at a table maybe thirty feet away inside the lounge He looks wealthy, and is well-dressed in a suit of what looks to me like Italian tailoring; with a neatly trimmed moustache.
There is an excited conversation between the two. The woman leads.
I can’t understand what they are saying, of course, but I can hear the tone of the exchange, and it is worrisome. The woman is highly animated, and upset/angry, and the man is shaking his head back and forth in an exasperated manner that says “no, no, no, no, that is NOT true”.
Of course I can’t understand it, but I do distinctly hear the word “leezard”.
And then, of all times, we share our moment; as I am staring through the window, the woman suddenly says bla-bla-bla whatever and jerks her thumb toward the outside veranda – toward me – and the two of them spin and look out the window where I stand like a surprised burglar.
Our eyes meet, the woman’s hubby and I.
He glares at me with what I will generously describe as ‘fury’, and I just sort of hover there; caught-and-busted. The look on his face makes it clear that I will be hastily vacating the veranda outside the lounge at the Byblos Andaluz.
If I could kill you, I would kill you is what I understand, via the telepathy that men have with other men whose wives we have offended/frightened/annoyed.
I hastily stub my butt underfoot, in preparation to bolt in case the gent comes outside for some sort of vendetta resolution, but not before I make my face into a weak rictus resembling a smile, and communicate back to the poor guy (also via telepathy):
No sleep for you tonight, funboy; for tonight you are on Gecko Patrol.
(Malaga, Spain) © Wade Ozeroff 2003